That’s Wicked

Before taking this class, I had never really thought about sustainability too much. I thought sustainability meant being environmentally cautious and using products that could be recycled and reused. Lately, I have heard more and more people urging the world to make more sustainable choices. One big example I have heard is to stop using plastic straws because they can affect wildlife and their environments. However, my view of what sustainability is has changed since taking Wicked Problems. Sustainability is a way to develop the present without hurting the future. Its more about using renewable resources than it is about wasting less materials.

A wicked problem is one that doesn’t have a clear fix or no ending in sight, unlike tame problems that are sequential. The characteristics of these problems are that they are vague, urgent, and that solutions could cause more problems. These problems have an intergenerational responsibility. This means that my actions now can affect the lives of future generations. A good example of this was shown in the story of Easter Island. At its peak, the island had 7,000 inhabitants. However, quickly after, the society fell. European visitors to the island saw that the people of Easter Island had used all of its resources. All of the trees had been cut down to for construction material, heating, and to move the large stone statues found on the island. The deforestation made it nearly impossible to build wooden houses, to fish for food, and to grow crops because the soil was receiving too much exposure. Fighting broke to between inhabitants over resources and the society ended. Learning about the history of Eater Island frightened me because I can see the same thing happening in our world today. We are already experiencing a shortage of resources from deforestation and other causes. 

The movie, The 11th Hour, showed just how quickly we are hurting our planet and using up our nonrenewable resources. The movie mentioned how we are treating nature as our resource. Too many people are using too many resources too fast. It showed how we will soon run out of these resources if we don’t make a change. One problem discussed in the movie is climate change. Climate change is a change in global temperatures and weather patterns over time due to greenhouse gas emissions. In learning that greenhouse gases were a large cause to climate change, I wanted to learn more about my carbon footprint. This is the amount of greenhouse gasses that I produce in my everyday activities without even thinking about it. 

In trying to come up with answers to wicked problems, I realized just how difficult it would be to fix them. In the Wildest Things activity, my group brainstormed crazy ideas to get rid of straws and we were stumped in coming up with answers that everyone would actually agree to. I wasn’t able to answer every question because they were answers my parents knew, however my score is lower than average because I do not eat meat and try not to eat dairy. 

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